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Album Reviews

Posted 29 Jun 2016 @ 10:33pm

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Featuring members of The Ocean Party and Ciggie Witch, Cool Sounds is a wonderful hybrid of all these other projects, with a clear line of difference. Describing themselves as “jazz-gaze” the band utilise synths and even the odd saxophone to create a sound that is vibrant and buoyant in nature.
 
With track names that are as to the point as the songs themselves...

Posted 29 Jun 2016 @ 10:31pm

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Crashing Into The Sun delivers surf rock laced indie pop that slides into cheekily sinister territory. In a word, this debut album from Hey Geronimo is ambitious. Millions Of Miles builds into a galloping, twangy cowboy rock echo before quickly bleeding into Lazer Gun Show, a space rock inspired stadium chant complete with ‘heys’, ‘hos’ and keyboard solos. Inversely,...

Posted 29 Jun 2016 @ 10:23pm

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Like a recidivist grave robber, Mick Harvey returns for a third time to pillage the rather substantial body of work left by Serge Gainsbourg. This is a mausoleum that keeps drawing Harvey, and shows no sign of abating in his desire to re-enliven the work of the famous French dandy.
 
Like a bourgeoisie chimney sweep, Gainsbourg managed to straddle the divide...

Posted 29 Jun 2016 @ 10:21pm

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Tom Odell’s voice first graced my ears through the transformative and enticing single Another Love. Taken from his beloved 2013 debut album, Long Way Down, the song began my infatuation with the English singer-songwriter. Therefore, I was pleasantly surprised that the bar was raised high when it came to his latest release, Wrong Crowd.
 
Met by the pulsing...

Posted 29 Jun 2016 @ 10:19pm

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Ten years ago Witch Hats held court in the smoke, piss and vomit stained environs of Pony, banging out bruising gothic punk melodies and spitting invective against the office bearers of the Alphington Junior Football Club. At the time the prospect of them writing a song that sounded like The Go-Betweens would have been as incongruous as Bobbie Gillespie donning a Hawaiian...

Posted 29 Jun 2016 @ 9:53am

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Oh Pep!’s Stadium Cake is a jingle jangle good old time. The album is dipped in intricate indie folk instrumentals and duo female vocal performance. The twelve track record is another homerun for the pair and proves that pop doesn’t have to come in the form of a cookie-cutter dance anthem.
 
Bushwick introduces an enjoyable banjo line and a soft, subtle vocal....

Posted 22 Jun 2016 @ 9:00pm

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“I think we should make a record together.” This, sent via email to Neko Case and Laura Veirs by kd lang, was the spark that lit the flame for case/lang/veirs. This is brought up contextually on account of the fact the trio perform together on this debut effort as if they have been doing so for years.
 
By triangulating the sheer force and resonance of their...

Posted 22 Jun 2016 @ 8:58pm

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Cat’s Eyes create music shrouded in darkness, largely due to the solemn voices of The Horrors’ Faris Badwan and soprano Rachel Zeffira. Treasure House follows the duo’s self-titled debut from 2011, and stylistically not much has changed. Cat’s Eyes’ signature chamber pop remains unchanged, with the sound still managing to be both dramatic and spellbinding.
 
The...

Posted 22 Jun 2016 @ 8:56pm

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It's never been a simple task to pinpoint what it is that makes David Bazan tick. This is, after all, the same person who spent his formative years in an indie-rock band professing Christianity, only for the first album under his own name to be a complete decimation of organised religion.
 
This time, on Bazan's third solo outing, the curveball is thrown...

Posted 22 Jun 2016 @ 8:55pm

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Inland Sea is the debut solo album from Marcus Whale and his first release outside of the electronic duo Collarbones.  Almost avant-garde in its experimentation, the record becomes stale in its obnoxious 50 minute running time.
 
Although singles Vapour and My Captain address social issues like race, gender and sexuality, the conscious commentary is drowned out...

Posted 22 Jun 2016 @ 8:53pm

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If Swans' chronology consisted solely of what they've achieved since regrouping, they'd still be considered one of the most important bands in both experimental music and art-rock.
 
Their last three albums – 2010's My Father Will Guide Me..., 2012's The Seer and 2014's To Be Kind – have been rapturously received. They’re all challenging, apocalyptic journeys...

Posted 22 Jun 2016 @ 8:52pm

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The Strokes have well and truly cemented their place in music history, but when you've reached the top, where else is there to plunge but headfirst into experimentation? Future Present Past is exactly that; a bizarre time travel adventure where the New Yorkers attempt to re-edit, warp and mutate themselves, generating a range of stylistic branches to choose from in the...

Posted 21 Jun 2016 @ 5:31pm

★★★★★

 

This New Zealand-born duo keeps going from strength to strength, with only two years passing since their first studio album, Evergreen. The new album, Conscious, is their best yet – prompting happy feelings with their signature synth beats and melodic vocals from Georgia Notts.
 
We hit the ground running with Free, a song that’s been getting pumped on triple...

Posted 15 Jun 2016 @ 9:27pm

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Above & Beyond’s Acoustic II is a bit of a paradox. While the album features some of the trance legends’ most well known tunes, these acoustic re-imaginings would be more at home in a speakeasy, orchestra hall, or a hole in the wall gin joint. With a collection of soulful jazz and sweeping orchestral moods not dissimilar to the soundtrack of a Bond movie, it’s a far...

Posted 15 Jun 2016 @ 9:24pm

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Years after switching off her synthesizer and finding full-time comfort in the arms of a six-string, Beth Orton's voice is back in its original habitat. Long before she was a folksy troubadour type, Orton made her name by working with the likes of William Orbit and The Chemical Brothers. And while Kidsticks isn't entirely a throwback, it's as close as she's gotten in over...

Posted 15 Jun 2016 @ 9:21pm

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In the presser for Eagulls’ second full-length release Ullages, we are reminded that the English post-punk come new wave – and now shoegaze – five-piece have been handpicked to support some of the greatest practitioners of these genres: Manic Street Preachers, The Jesus & Mary Chain and Ride. Here Eagulls wear these influences on their sleeve, but the question is...

Posted 15 Jun 2016 @ 9:19pm

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Psychedelic rock has been around for decades, but it’s never been overly fashionable. But similar to grunge, blues-based hard rock and other such styles, it’s always great to hear bands keeping the sound alive despite its inherent unsexiness.
 
Melbourne’s Greenthief are doing psych rock as well as just about anyone on the planet at the moment. The emerging...

Posted 15 Jun 2016 @ 9:17pm

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As far as supergroups go, Hellyeah have stood the test of time and creative endurance in their ten years of kicking arse and taking names. They’ve undergone changes in personnel and sound and image, but the band have managed to keep their output fresh and innovative without necessarily reinventing themselves. Their fifth full-length offering Unden!able is a sizeable slab...

Posted 15 Jun 2016 @ 9:15pm

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They might harken back to early developments in Australian punk and pub rock, but Melbourne-via-Canberra's Hoodlum Shouts are more pertinent to the here and now than practically any other band. Their 2012 debut, Young Man/Old Man, was an eloquent indictment of both the political and personal – particularly focusing on their intersection – but its follow-up is perhaps even...

Posted 15 Jun 2016 @ 3:13pm

★★★★

 

It’s nearly 15 months since garage punk duo The Gooch Palmsrelocated from their coastal home in Newcastle to the city of Los Angeles. In that time, they’ve chalked up over 150 live showsand developed a reputation as one of the most entertaining bands this side of Saturn.The Gooch Palms also found enough time to collaborate with producer Bill Skibbe (The Kills, Jacuzzi Boys...

Posted 8 Jun 2016 @ 10:39pm

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It’s all well and good for bands and musicians to evolve as artists and take their careers in a new direction, but sometimes there's nothing more satisfying than an artist putting out an album where you get exactly what you came for (AC/DC anyone?).
 
That's exactly what Band of Skulls have done with their fourth release, By Default. Across twelve tracks that...

Posted 8 Jun 2016 @ 10:38pm

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Australian indie duo Colour Bomb have delivered on their self-titled debut album. With a beat that will have your hips shaking and booty bouncing, sex-infused opener Moth is indicative of Jimmy Saunders and Tom Whitty’s synth-pop sound. Five years in the making, Colour Bomb is the result of sheer devotion.
 
With lyrics like, “I hold onto something just long...

Posted 8 Jun 2016 @ 10:36pm

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A pensive mirror selfie of Emma Russack graces the cover of her third album In A New State. The album’s lyrics are largely centred on Russack becoming more self-reliant, and in the process you gain a deep understanding of her personal life – from the highs and lows of her romances to her feelings towards her New South Wales hometown and adopted home of Melbourne.
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Posted 8 Jun 2016 @ 10:32pm

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Six years since the release of Latin, Holy Fuck have finally released their fourth album, Congrats. The Canadian electronic rock band unit has created an instrumental master class, immediately satisfying and abrasive as ever.
 
Spinning like a helicopter blade, Chimes Broken includes rumbling snares and sporadic, synth-spliced bass lines, which pull you into...

Posted 8 Jun 2016 @ 10:31pm

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Out of the ashes of some of Holland’s pioneering thrash bands come Razend. Razend means “furious” in Dutch, and from the opening track Girl In The Mirror the fury hardly stops.
 
A female singer who can hold some serious high notes while also delivering ballsy, deeper vocals is a massive trump card for this band. Corinne van den Brand’s evil squealing and...

Posted 8 Jun 2016 @ 10:28pm

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You could argue that these are increasingly mature times for artists, where delicate prowess and tight production take priority over the frantic kineticism of a decade past. Ash & Ice perfectly reflects this current atmosphere, in both its strengths and weaknesses. It's a different beast to earlier Kills albums like Midnight Boom; the same fuzzy guitar licks and punchy...

Posted 8 Jun 2016 @ 4:00pm

★★★★

 

Anchor begins with a rumbling bass loop, with drum sounds rising rapidly out of the muddy mix. A single synth note and a hoarse, unintelligible vocal moves quickly across the stereo spectrum, forewarning something – possibly menacing, and decidedly interesting. It says a lot that this is how Ngaiire decides to open her second album, Blastoma. Named after a form of cancer...

Posted 1 Jun 2016 @ 8:51pm

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It’s taken four years and a major lifestyle change, but for lovers of all things lighthearted, Ladyhawke’s Wild Things is worth the wait. Refraining from delving into darkness, singer/songwriter Pip Brown has created a sweet, sun-kissed record.
 
Love Song is an upbeat anthem with super-soaked synths and infectious lyrics: “You’ve opened my eyes to the oldest...

Posted 1 Jun 2016 @ 8:49pm

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Listening to the Melvins always conjures up vivid images of a lost world: sitting around in a suburban share house, the interior décor a collage of Kiss albums, Led Zeppelin posters, a shabby brown couch, a few empty beer bottles and the feral stench of spilt bong water. But that’s why the Melvins – now 33-years-old and as irreverent as ever – are so goddam consistent. It’...

Posted 1 Jun 2016 @ 8:47pm

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Australia has an abundance of alternative rock acts, and many of them are world class. We don’t, however, have many alt-rock acts that are serious funky, but that’s exactly what Brisbane four-piece Osaka Punch bring to the table.
 
These boys bring funk and groove in massive doses, which make Voodoo Love Machine a hugely fun, danceable rock album. But that’s...

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